Fishing lines

Fishing lines

Which kind of line should I use?

Mono vs. Braid

Since I fish from a boat in Valle Gran Rey I changed my preference. The advantage of the mono or monofilament is the price and maybe it is safer and less becomes knotty. When I say “safer” I mean it is not dangerous for your fingers when you are fighting a big fish, whereas braided line can hurt you easily since it is sharp like a saw. Wear gloves!

Yet I still prefer the braided line. First, because I am in direct relation to the bait, it is lighter, it doesn’t stretch, so the braid is taut. Second, it is multicolour, so I can easily control the required distance. Third, the same thick braid is stronger than the mono. And thanks to this, I can make the most of the reel capacity. If I see only one of my favourite fish, the bluefish, it would be enough a 20-30 lb braid line, but hammer shark bites require the heavier rig, so I would use 50 lbs braid. In Valle Gran Rey, though there is not a big selection, you can still buy braid line.

When it comes to rod and reel, even casting or spinning, who likes what, I’d recommend a reel with at least 30 lbs of drag power, and heavy /medium-heavy powered fishing rods. I will write more about this in the future.

Find your honey hole!

Dead Bait or Live Bait?

Dead Bait or Live Bait?

Why would I use dead bait instead of live bait?

Well, first of all, it is forbidden to use live bait in the Canary Islands.

If we took this rule flexible —which experienced fisherman would deny the advantages of using live bait?— it would be difficult to get live bait. And it doesn’t worth to waste your valued time and efforts to catch the fish to use as bait instead of just fishing. And if we rent a boat, for sure we don’t want to bother ourselves with such hassle, but rather go directly for the big fish.

Which kind of baitfish is regularly available?

In terms of popularity, durability and availability these are the real choices:

Sardina (European pilchard): the available frozen sardines come to pieces very easily (Spar, 5óceanos)

Caballa (mackerel): when it is alive it can be good in the open ocean, but after freezing it is not very durable (Spar, 5óceanos)

Chicharro (saurel): it is quite good, the predatory fish like it (5óceanos)

Boga (Boops Boops): it’s quite durable but not for sale in the shops. You can catch it inshore, even in the port. I use it together with squids with an excellent experience.

Aguja (Needlefish): it is very popular. Almost all the inshore predatory fish species like it (sierra tuna, barracuda, shark, and bluefish) The smaller ones can be used to fish. Catching aguja requires some experience and needs special rig – later I will write about this issue. Here in Valle Gran Rey, you can’t buy it.

Lagarto: It is my choice to catch bluefish, and the hammer shark also bites it. To catch lagarto you can use efficiently the Rapala X-rap Magnum 30. It lives near to the sandy beaches. Around Valle Gran Rey from Arguagua to Roque Iguala and you can easily catch some in front of the sandy shores of La Rajita and La Playa. It is one of the most durable baitfish on my list. And, in my opinion, it has the most intense smell to attract predatory fish.

Find your honey hole!

The trolling of the Bluefish

The trolling of the Bluefish

The trolling of the bluefish (Pejerey or anjova in Spanish, blue barsch in German)

This fish is very common in the Northeast Atlantic and can be caught all year round by the shores of La Gomera, including in the waters of Valle Gran Rey. Its taste is delicious.

I caught several 7-8 kg heavy bluefishes, all from a boat and using the trolling technique. This fish is a fighter! After taking the bait, it jumps out a lot of times, raises itself to get rid of the hook. Unfortunately, when the line is not completely taut or the hook did not pierce well enough, the fish will manage to escape.  Therefore, the golden rule of fishing still applies in this case: When fighting you should always try hard to keep your line taut. After it has taken the bait, try your best to pull it to the upper water layers. Don’t let it return deep because the sharp reefs can easily cut our line.

When I started to fish here I used wobblers to troll as others recommended. I chose two popular and well-tried brands. For the upper layers of the water, farther from the boat, I used small plug lures, Yozuri 3D Crystal Minnow; while for the closer deeper water layers I used big plug lures, Rapala X-rap Magnum 30.

I hauled them at the classic speed of 4 kn by the shores and, to be honest, I wasn’t very successful. I was unable to take a liking to these artificial lures and it hasn’t changed yet. I couldn’t forget my idea that it was only visually appealing for the fish. However, if I use natural bait, the smell will attract the species from far.

So I turned to the trolling technique with dead baits. It was a good decision; I became a lot more efficient. I looked up “dead bait rig” on YouTube and I got a good range of solutions (this applies for ballyhoo). I kept and I found the “predapro.com” website and a small tool that helps to assemble this rig (I use the size 2). The small weight on the bottom of this tool hinders the bait from twisting like a propeller and it also ensures that it will swim nicely.

At the beginning I used a simple hook (J hook 5/0, 6/0) to thread the baitfish, leaving his tail free and it would swim spectacularly. But I had some bad experiences when the fish bit it and broke it in two, taking down the lower part of the bait.

So, I made a compromise and threaded the hook through the anus and tail of the bait (I use wire because of the sharp teeth of the fish) to its stomach behind the bottom fins. In the middle, I put a triple hook, so I reduced the empty bites very much although it doesn’t swim that well and it looks like a wobbler. (See photo)

Since I troll with two rods, I worked out a combination for the second which is a small octopus or a squid. (See the photos – in the last one it has a bandage protecting it from the small fishes). I troll at 3.5-4 kn speed by the shores and you can speed up to 6-7 kn in open water. The boats for rent can achieve this speed without difficulty.

You can find hammerheads around La Gomera, yes, around Valle Gran Rey too. Although these sharks take the bait at slower speeds, 2-3 kn.

Find your honey hole!